How Adversity Makes Us Stronger
Dear Class of 2020, We’ve had it rough, but I can safely say that we are a class that is bound to make history. Most of us were born in the wake of 9/11, when the country was in shock and we were vulnerable. Now, it’s our senior year… and because of a virus the final days of being together in high school have been taken away from us. We find ourselves in perhaps the most unusual circumstances in modern human history. In a season when our days should be filled with celebrations of our accomplishments--our victories on the ball field, our last performances in Show Choir and Drama, our final band concert, our last race around the track--we are instead practicing social distancing to save the most vulnerable members of our community.
As much as they tell us not to, it’s okay to be upset in a time like this; to grieve the lost time and unmade memories with fellow classmates, teammates, and underclassmen. It is okay to be saddened by the seasons that didn’t get proper endings and those that didn’t even get the chance to start up. We didn’t get to have the ending of our high school experience that we have always dreamed of….our last prom, the senior picnic, one last time playing in the elementary school playground, and it’s okay to be sad about that. But, we also have to sit back and look at all of our blessings.
In the world we live in now, technology is absolutely outstanding! Sure, we can’t be with each other in person, but we do have the opportunity to connect and converse with each other through social media platforms like Snapchat, Facetime, etc. Our schools and teachers are constantly working to ensure that we get the ending we deserve, and although it isn’t the stereotypical experience, we are getting something so much more… As far as I’m concerned we’ve just taken “Senior Skip Day” to a whole new level.
My message here is that we can all find hidden benefits in any misfortune, if we train ourselves to see adversity in a new light and respond to it creatively. We shouldn’t look for “closure”, or hope for things to go back to how they were as quickly as possible. The harsh reality is that when crisis or tragedy strikes, no outside event can change what has happened, we can’t “go back” to anything. Chasing after those false promises throws us off the track. We have to meet outer changes with a fundamental change inside, a shift in outlook that draws upon the creativity installed in all of us and helps us move forward to a new beginning. With this shift in outlook, we can transform fear, anger, and sadness into a new kind of inner strength. Then, and only then, will we see that every bad break can disguise a blessing- a new sense of purpose. Think about it. How great has it been that we have had the freedom to choose how to spend our time these last few months? Think of how many new experiences we’ve been given just in the short few months of “quarantine”. Sure, they weren’t the memories we were hoping for, but at least we’ve made history.
All I’m saying is that we have to realize that this one year doesn’t define us and it definitely doesn’t define our journey. What defines us is the years that have led up to this point, the work we put in to get here. Everything leading up to this year had the purpose to prepare us for even bigger things in life. And boy, do I look forward to what we will all do in the future. Come on! If this is the worst, or “the bottom”, there’s only one way to go from here. And that way is up. So don’t look at this year as a bust, or a flop. Look at this year as a year for growth and preparation.
I can’t wait to see what all of us will make of our lives and all the new adventures we’re going to have in the next few years. I’m not sure what the future will bring, but I do know one thing. We are strong, we are united, and we can get through absolutely anything that the world throws at us. I will miss each and every one of you as we all move onto the next chapter of our lives. So here’s to us. To the class of 2020. Or as I like to say, “the Class Of Quarantine.” — Mackenzie Weinzatl